HUDSON — The Hudson boys soccer team is in hot pursuit of the Suburban League National Conference title.
The Woodridge boys soccer team is in hot pursuit of the Portage Trail Conference Metro Division title.
However, as Bulldogs head coach Todd Hartong notes, there’s a bit of a gulf in quality between the PTC and Suburban League.
Woodridge showed a lot of defensive moxie, but it was Hudson which scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over the Bulldogs Thursday at Hudson Memorial Stadium.
Hudson improved to 8-4-2 overall, while Woodridge fell to 6-7-1.
On his team’s Senior Night, Explorers head coach Steve Knapp said he wanted to see more from his team’s offense.
"We didn’t make good decisions," he said. "They were well organized. It wasn’t them that limited us, though. It was us. We just didn’t get the right ball when we needed it."
Woodridge is still looking for its first win outside of the Metro Division, but Hartong was pleased with his team’s effort.
"We don’t schedule Hudson to get a win every year," Hartong said. "We schedule Hudson to get ready for the playoffs. Against teams like Aurora, Revere and CVCA, we have to be organized on defense. We were (Thursday). This was a good dress rehersal."
Both teams ran a 4-3-3 formation, but Hartong noted his wingers chased the Explorers’ outside backs when they went forward, leaving forward Zach Kumar on an island up top.
Hudson had the lion’s share of possession in the first half, but could not find a way past Bulldogs goalkeeper Ben Rado.
Rado finished with 6 saves on the night, as the Explorers managed only a 7-2 edge in shots on goal, despite camping out in Woodridge’s end for long periods of the game.
With the match tied 0-0 at halftime, Hartong said his team felt good, but Hudson amped up the pressure early in the second half.
The Explorers earned five corner kicks in the first five minutes of the half and finished with a 13-0 edge in corner kicks.
Woodridge’s best chance for a counterattack goal came in the 56th minute when Justice Fair hit a high shot on net, but Hudson goalie Connor Gynn made the save. It was Gynn’s lone save on the night as he shared the goalkeeping duties with fellow senior Andrew Northrup.
The Bulldogs looked like they might weather the Explorers’ storm when the breakthrough came in the 62nd minute.
Hudson earned a free kick about 40 yards away from the goal and senior David Tullett sent a curling ball into the box. Junior Josh Rosenzweig leapt up and headed the ball to the far post, giving Rado no chance.
"At 1-0, I never felt we were in danger of giving up a goal," Knapp said.
"I wanted to switch to a 5-3-2 with 20 minutes left, but that’s when the goal went in," Hartong said.
Woodridge was unable to muster any shots in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Prior to the Woodridge game, the Explorers improved to 5-0-1 in the Suburban League National Conference after posting a 2-0 victory at Twinsburg Tuesday.
Skanda Moorthy and Wilson Sattele scored for Hudson, while Sebastian Kreiss and Ryan Sarkisian each had one assist.
Gynn made 5 saves in the nets. The Explorers had a 6-5 advantage in shots on goal. The Tigers had a 7-3 edge in corner kicks.
Meanwhile, Woodridge remained unbeaten in the Metro Division at 6-0 Tuesday with a 3-1 win at Norton.
Woodridge got goals from Alex Schertz, Nick Tomic and Manning Thiel in the win, as Woodridge outshot Norton 9-4. Rado finished with 3 saves.
Both teams will play for their respective league titles next Tuesday. Hudson will play host to Wadsworth at 7 p.m., while Woodridge travels to Springfield at 7 p.m.